Image Source: Benjamin Black
In the Venn diagram intersection of small-production wines, philanthropy, ethical commerce, and getting fun packages in the mail, there is a small but mighty company name: Wine + Moxxi. The subscription wine service is the brainchild of Lauren Barnard, who started her journey as a blogger five years ago and used that role as a way to meet with winemakers and learn about the wine industry. From there, she launched Wine + Moxxi, a subscription service providing a monthly box of two carefully selected small-production wines (organically produced when possible) for $40.
The target Wine + Moxxi consumer is a savvy, forward-thinking young woman (a #MoxxiGal) who loves wine and cares about where she's putting her money. Delighted by both the product (wine!) and the philanthropic foundation of the company's mission, we picked Barnard's brain about all things Wine + Moxxi, from her motivations for starting the company to the triumphs and struggles of building your own brand.
POPSUGAR: What was the inspiration for starting Wine + Moxxi?
Lauren Barnard: There isn't really a wine club or company out there for young, inspiring women, so we started one for them. I wanted to create not only a wine company with fantastic, affordable, artisanal wine, but also a community that celebrates our customers. After all, wine is just a medium for experience. It is the stories from those who are drinking it and making it that make it meaningful.
PS: What made you want to start a subscription box company rather than a brick-and-mortar wine shop or some other kind of retail model?
LB: The wine industry is changing, and online distribution methods are highly more accessible than they used to be. The potential reach and scale is larger via an online model than brick and mortar. We are taking the old-school methodologies of the wine industry by sourcing authentic, pure wines and applying innovative strategies of the tech world to bolster and scale our brand.
PS: What makes Wine + Moxxi different from other wine subscription boxes?
LB: Quality and community are our differentiators. We source from a global portfolio rather than just a domestic portfolio, so you get to learn about wines from around the world at an affordable price. Also, we always source small production wine (and organically produced whenever possible). This means you're getting a wine made from a family farmer rather than a large corporation or in bulk. And we offer community. Whether its holiday parties or hosting International Women's Day events, we are creating meaningful ways for our customers to get together and meet one another.
Image Source: Hope Meng
PS: What aspect of running Wine + Moxxi do you enjoy the most?
LB: I love meeting our customers. We've nicknamed them the #MoxxiGal. She is independent, strong, unique, a little sassy, and seems to do it all with an attitude of strength and gratitude. Our customers keep me full of new inspiration and motivation.
PS: Your target consumer seems to be the millennial woman. Why do you think this demographic is so passionate about supporting sustainable products and eco-friendly brands?
LB: While we have done a lot of research to support this claim, as a female millennial myself, I am applying my same values into the brand. It's an easy choice for me that my company would support things like women's entrepreneurship initiatives across Africa or organic farming methods when selecting our wines. There are thousands of choices out there. I want to make sure our choices are making an impact.
PS: What has been the most surprising thing about running Wine + Moxxi?
LB: It is so much fun. All day, I am basically figuring out ways to bring joy into people's lives via the medium of wine. Even during the hardest of days, I can stop and have a moment to say, "Relax! It's just wine."
PS: What are some of the biggest struggles of owning your own business?
LB: It truly can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Some months will be fantastic and full of travel or new, exciting partnerships, but some months may be spent solving problems, which can be very trying. It takes a lot more resilience than I ever imagined as the business ebbs and flows through its growth.
Image Source: Chloe Meyer
PS: Given that women buy the majority of all retail wine in the US, why do you think the wine industry overall is still so male-dominated?
LB: That's a great question. Let's change that! We need more female mentors encouraging women to go into wine as a profession. Like engineering or computer science, women don't think about wine as a viable profession. They can't relate to other women in the field because they don't see them in it.
PS: What advice do you have for young women who might be considering launching their own business?
LB: Do it and don't look back. I started as a blogger five years ago and used it as an excuse to go up to wine country to meet with winemakers and learn. It grew from there. If I can do it, you can do it.